We live in a world where we often see a negative picture of how political and other leaders have worked with hidden agendas to create a monstrosity where 10% of the super billionaires own more wealth than 90% of the population. But it is inspiring to hear of individuals who work hard and without much publicity to bring about poverty alleviation, helping in the battle against global warming and provide well-paid jobs for
The Cable News Network (CNN) recently chose 10 remarkable trailblazers who have truly changed the world. One of the heroes is Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin who left her career to teach computer programming to girls at Lagos in Nigeria where Facebook and Google opened offices earlier this year. A 2013 survey found that less than 8% of Nigerian women were employed in professional, managerial or technological jobs. Abisoye hopes to change that statistic.
Another heroine is Maria Rose Belding who wants to help feed the millions of Americans who don’t regularly have enough. She connects them with the massive amounts of food that goes waste -- estimated at up to 40%. She teamed up with a fellow student to develop a free online platform called MEANS, which puts businesses that have extra food in touch with movements that feed the hungry.
The other heroine is Amanda Boxtel who helps the injured walk again. Amanda survived a horrific skiing accident and doctors told her she would never walk again. She defied those expectations with the help of machines called bionic exoskeleton suits, which inspired Amanda to create Bridging Bionics.
Another hero is Rob Gore, whose mission is breaking the cycle of violence. As a hospital ER physician at Brooklyn in New York, Dr. Gore saw the results of violence all too closely. So in 2009, he and a few volunteers started the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) which works with at-risk high school students, teaching them mediation and conflict resolution.
The other hero is Luke Mickelson who makes a place for children to sleep safely. In 2012, he was shocked to learn that there were needy children in his town of Twin Falls in Idaho. The children were forced to sleep on the floor because they had no beds. Using safety guidelines and his daughter’s bunk bed as a template, Mr Mickelson started using his own money to buy wood and supplies to build beds for these children. He recruited friends and family members to help.
The other heroine is Susan Munsey, who rescues victims of the sex trade. As a teen, Susan was lured into a life of prostitution in Southern California, where she learned about the abuse of young women firsthand. Eventually she was able to escape that world to become a clinical social worker and a psychotherapist. In 2009, she founded ‘GenerateHope’, a nonprofit movement that offers a safe place for survivors of
The other heroine is Florence Phillips who teaches America’s newcomers. She served for years in Kenya, Guatemala and Jamaica, working on community-building projects and teaching English. When she returned to the US she eventually settled at Carson City in Nevada, where immigrants make up about 20% of the state’s population.
Another heroine is Ellen Stackable who heals women inmates. While working on her graduate school thesis, she was surprised to learn her home state of Oklahoma has the highest rate of female incarceration in America. She found that many women inmates were first-time, non-violent offenders. She listened to their stories and began to understand their difficult lives.
The other hero is Chris Stout who champions military veterans in need. When US Army combat veteran Chris Stout returned from Afghanistan to Kansas City in Missouri, he struggled with an injury and PTSD. He was frustrated by the gaps and inefficiencies he saw. He also saw homeless veterans living on the street because they felt traditional homeless shelters were unsafe or lacked privacy.
Finally the hero of the year is Ricardo-Pun Chong who comforts sick children and their families. He spent a lot of time making rounds at hospitals throughout Lima in Peru. Day after day, he noticed families sleeping on the floors. Far from home and loved ones, and unable to pay for a place to stay in Lima, many families found themselves homeless while fighting for their children’s lives. He decided to do something for them. Since 2008, Ricardo’s nonprofit, ‘Inspira’, has provided free housing, meals and overall support for sick children and their families while they
We also need to ponder on how we could make this world a better place to live in. What we need is a good vision and goals, enterprise, creativity and an innovative spirit to forget the selfish politicians or other leaders and make this world a better place by doing unto others what we wish they would do unto us.